A summer holiday typically involves a sandy beach of some sort and whilst this can be wonderful, many do also enjoy the cultural diversions and glamorous hotspots synonymous with a stylish city break.
And, as most of central London unexpectedly seems rather quiet whilst the glorious whirlwind of the Games comes to a pinnacle, I suspect that more than a few fabulous fashionistas have embraced the opportunity to escape London and explore a city or two.
What greater city to explore than Paris? However, if a trip to the most romantic city in the world isn’t on the horizon for you, why not explore the joys of Paris from your very own kitchen? I was inspired to create these delicate little cakes to celebrate the great city because we do love it so! Take a little culinary sojourn with House of Fraser to the capital of France with my recipe for Caramelised Milk & Honey Madeleines with a twist of Lime.
Caramelised Milk & Honey Madeleines with Lime
Makes approximately 18 Madeleines
You will need a Madeleine pan to make these cakes, but if you can’t find a suitable baking pan easily, you can use a shallow cupcake tray to cake these.
For the Caramelised Milk:
2tsp icing sugar
6 drops vanilla extract
For the Madeleine batter:
85g egg (roughly 1 1/2 – 2 medium eggs) at room temperature
100g plain flour (type 00 Italian flour if possible)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 pinch salt
60g unsalted butter (I like President)
65g caster sugar
30g finest runny honey (2 tbsp)
1 tsp vanilla extract
30ml caramelised milk
Zest of 1/2 unwaxed lime
To make the caramelised milk, gently heat the milk and icing sugar to boiling point and reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the vanilla extract and allow the milk to simmer slowly and thicken.
The liquid will take on a slightly more golden hue of cream and reduce by about half. This should take around ten minutes and the sweet aroma of the milk sugars will fill the kitchen. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Melt the butter and Flora in a heavy based pan over a low heat. Once melted, set aside to allow to cool.
Measure and sift the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the lime zest, stir to mix and set aside.
Carefully crack the eggs in a separate bowl atop the measuring scales. You may need to remove a small amount of the egg white to ensure that you have the correct measurement.
Add the caster sugar to the eggs and whisk with an electric whisk for a minute or two till light and frothy. Or mix by hand for three to four minutes.
Measure out 30ml of the milk into a jug, add the honey, vanilla extract and melted butter and gently stir to combine.
Mix the buttery milk with the eggs and sugar and finally fold in the flour in three parts.
Carefully fold the batter to retain the air that you whisked into the eggs and sugar. Ensure that all the ingredients are combined, but do not over mix as that may make the cakes chewier and you want them bouncy and light as air.
Cover the batter with cling film and refrigerate for two or three hours.
When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 170° – 180° C depending upon the intensity of your oven.
Grease a 12 cup Madeleine pan with Flora or melted butter. Scoop two teaspoons of batter into each Madeleine cup and smooth out. Fill up to just beneath the top of the shell shape as the sponges will rise up.
Bake in the oven for five minutes and turn the oven off for one minute to create the classic Parisian peak on the top side of the Madeleine.
After a minute set the oven to 160° C for a remaining four to five minutes.
When the Madeleines are ready, they will be pale and spongy on top and golden on the shell-shaped underside.
Delicately remove the Madeleines from the pan with a palette knife and allow to cool for one minute before serving.
These sweet little angel cakes are best fresh and warm from the oven. Serve with a dollop of clotted or whipped cream, a drizzle of honey and a handful of blueberries or any berries such as raspberries or strawberries.